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Do people feel alienated by the terms in programmatic?
Welcome to another edition of My Two Cents on Programmatic, my quick but regular take on the world of programmatic. If you’re enjoying these newsletters then please do feel free to share or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Semantics : the meanings of words and phrases in a particular context
Demand Side Platform. Private Marketplace. Connected TV. Supply Side Platform. Cookie syncing. Header bidding. Viewability. Server Side Ad Insertion. Data Clean Rooms. The list of complicated programmatic terms go on (and on), and that’s before I’ve even started thinking about putting them into impossible to understand acronyms.
The majority of sectors use their own own language, and rightly so. These terms are to accurately depict ‘things’ and ‘actions’. For example in nursing; haemophilia is a complicated term but one which succinctly and accurately describes ‘a rare condition that affects the bodies ability to clot’. There are many examples of terms that seem complicated but depict what it is - I’m sure there are lots that come to your mind as you read this.
In the ad industry we love a new term, of course we do. Whenever there’s a new term/buzzword you see people polarise into either going ‘oh here we go again’ or ‘this is an exciting opportunity’.
Regardless of which camp you are in, it’s clear that terminology can isolate people. The amount of times I have calls where the person on the other end admits to being intimidated by the fast-moving nature of the terminology is crazy. If they aren’t intimidated, they’re angry.
Plus, even when I speak to someone who’s in it day to day, even we might disagree on what the term means (‘automated guaranteed’ anyone… thanks Google). This isn’t productive.
What I’m getting at is that the technical layers of the industry can’t use long-hand ‘normal’ English to explain what they’re doing, it would take AGES and really discredit the accuracy of their work. So the people in the ‘oh here we go again’ camp really need to get onboard with the terminology inevitably and *must* stop writing nonsense like ‘lets simplify the industry’.
On the flip side, the trade press and other stakeholders who are speaking to non-technical folk, need to be conscious of what they’re putting out there and how it can be interpreted. This is difficult, because WSJ, Forbes, AdWeek or whoever can’t guarantee who’s going to read their articles and agency sales people (for example) won’t know the exact level of technical understanding the agency person has, but good people find the balance between the technical and the human.
Good people also don’t get angry at the semantics but consider the place in which it has come from.
Random example - A ‘Programmatic OG’ tried to start a debate about the differences between SSP and Exchange like I didn’t know. What’s the point? You must be living a great life if that’s something you get angry about.
Knowledge of terminology isn’t power, the application of it is. Think bigger and more productively.
Plug - demystifying programmatic was a big reason we launched The Programmatic University and we have plenty of new content coming to the site soon. FOR FREE.
My favourite read of the week
A non-advertising related link, but one which is a good read on how Open APIs and good governance is revolutionising UK finance is here - https://www.raconteur.net/finance/open-finance-the-next-level-for-data-sharing/
Thanks for reading. I’m away next week (in Spain for one of my best friends wedding, yay). I hope you enjoy your weekend.
P.s - I recorded 4 podcasts this week. 1 is TRULY THE BEST I’VE EVER RECORDED, and three are genuinely 9/10. I’ll share once live.